Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Review: The Tiger and the Snow

We watched Roberto Benigni's 2005 film "The Tiger and the Snow" and have mixed reactions to this. He tried to use elements of "Life is Beautiful" set against the Holocaust back drop with the Iraq war. It's set in March 2003, right before the US invasion of Baghdad.

The romantic story is just wonderful. Do Italians and French filmmakers have the patent on capturing romance? Benigni plays Attilio, a professor of poetry. His lines about poetry (albeit in translation) and the importance of finding perfect words is beautiful and deeply resonated with me. The love of his life Vittoria (Nicoletta Braschi) is so gorgeous and alluring, but mysterious.

Vittoria goes to Baghdad and gets hurt, just as the city is being bombed. Attilo is called there by Faud (French actor Jean Reno), an Iraqi colleague. After that, I don't really understand what happened to the movie.

There's a lot of goofy incidents, such as riding on a camel. There were some Charlie Chaplin-esque scenes such as the one where he accidentally ends up in a mine field and doesn't understand what people are telling him. He ends up dancing his way out of the field. There's Attilo on a motorcycle strapped with Red Cross medicines and being mistaken for a suicide bomber by check point soldiers. There's Attilo getting caught in a detention camp. There was a lot of crazy incidents that were unnecessary and unbelievable. Unbelievable in the sense that it can happen, yes..but to one man, not really.

The idea is that he's so light hearted and infatuated that he doesn't notice all this. This was a similar element to "Life is Beautiful". There are a few dream sequences and the scene at the end is confusing whether it is real or not.

One nice quote was "You have to lie down to see the sky," which he told his class and literally lay down on the floor to demonstrate.

So, the romantic story is great, but we had to fast forward through the goofier parts of the Iraq sequences.

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